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Studio Brillantine

Ultra-modern storefront filled with eye-catching objets d’art sets the scene for what you can expect inside

Flanked by a unisex hair design shop and a rundown hardware store, Studio Brillantine sticks out like a sore thumb in the slowly gentrifying Parkdale neighbourhood. The ultra-modern storefront filled with eye-catching objets d’art sets the scene for what you can expect inside.

When you walk into Studio Brillantine, it’s easy to get caught up in all the kitsch. The small space on Queen Street just west of Lansdowne is packed with an impressive collection of bright and shiny objects. “I like toys. I collect toys. So it’s nice to have them in the shop,” says owner Ferdinand Suzura, who’s about as cute and collectable as the wares he sells.

But these aren’t your run-of-the- mill toys. Hard-to-find plushies modelled after Studio Ghibli characters, Barbapapa figurines and erasers shaped like sushi adorn the shelves and hang from the ceiling, making this shop a memorabilia hunter’s dream. “There are a lot of characters, things that make people happy,” says Suzura. “Humour is important.”

Humour aside, the more refined collector will appreciate Studio Brillantine for its offering of accessories and housewares fit for a museum… literally. The shop boasts an impressive collection of recreated items that can be found in permanent museum collections, including an Achille Castiglioni stainless steel ashtray reissued by Alessi Italian Design Factory. “It’s like a history of really great ideas and minds and the objects they created,” says Suzura. You can take home your own piece of designer art without breaking the bank.

That’s not to say these pieces come cheap. If you plan on leaving Studio Brillantine with souvenirs, you’ll have to loosen up your wallet. A Bauhaus egg cup, recreated by Alessi, goes for $142. Even the toys aren’t cheap. One particularly charming resin Tintin figurine will cost you $700.

With a background in fine arts and design, Suzura carefully curates the store’s collection. Ultimately, he says he looks for things he would want to receive as a gift. “I just trust my instincts. It’s nice to have that freedom.

“Everything will have a function, even if it’s to make you laugh.”

STUDIO BRILLANTINE 1518 Queen St W. (416) 536-6521. studiobrillantine.com.